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Sun Country pilot negotiations delay expansion plans at MSP Airport

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Planning for an expansion at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is delayed due to the possibility Sun Country may reduce – or even discontinue – service.

The Metropolitan Airports Commission voted Monday for a one-month delay on awarding a bid for the three-gate, $35 million expansion at the terminal, in light of the recent Sun Country Airlines reports, a memorandum said.

MSP Airport officials believe postponing a decision on the airport expansion plan will give them enough time to analyze if the expansion would be needed if Sun Country reduced flights or ended operations altogether, the memorandum said.

Minnesota-based Sun Country is a major tenant at Terminal 2, and is the third-biggest operator at MSP, behind Delta and Spirit airlines, the Star Tribune notes.

Sun Country has been in negotiations with its roughly 250 pilots for about five years, and this month the airline told the Air Line Pilots Association it has made its "last, best and final" proposal to the pilots, according to a news release, noting if a deal isn't reached, it could lead to downsizing and possibly the end of operations.

"Nothing is going on at Sun Country that will have any impact on current customers," Sun Country President John Fredericksen said earlier this month, according to the Pioneer Press.

The ALPA is set to meet with airline officials at the end of the month, where it will provide a counter-proposal to the company's offer, the release notes.

Terminal 2 currently has 10 gates, but is crowded and nearing capacity. The board will take up expansion plan discussions at its June 15 meeting.

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